Spatiotemporal characteristics of the walk-to-run and run-to-walk transition when gradually changing speed

Gait Posture. 2006 Oct;24(2):247-54. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2005.09.006. Epub 2005 Nov 28.


The purpose of this study was to examine spatiotemporal parameters of the walk-to-run transition (WRT) and run-to-walk transition (RWT) when speed is altered with different constant accelerations. Twenty women (height: 168.9+/-3.36cm) performed three accelerations (0.05, 0.07 and 0.1ms(-2)) and three decelerations (-0.05, -0.07 and -0.1ms(-2)) on a motor-driven treadmill. The transition step in the WRT (first step with a flight phase) and RWT (first step with a double stance phase) occurred at the same speed for all accelerations but these did not occur in the same way. The most striking difference was the presence of a transition step with specific spatiotemporal characteristics in the WRT, whereas this was not observed in the RWT. The transition is not a sudden one-step-event. WRT occurred before transition and consisted of a "pre-transition period" and the transition step whereas RWT occurred after transition and consisted of the transition step and a "post-transition period". Both transition periods were characterized by an exponential evolution of step frequency and step length. Step frequency and step length showed a linear evolution before and after transition. The flight phase of the transition step in the WRT reached a minimum with comparable duration of the last flight phase in the RWT. The flight phase could be considered as an intrinsic dynamical factor of transition. Further research in kinematics, the trajectory of the body centre of mass and energy fluctuations will give more insight in these transitions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Deceleration*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Running / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology*